"Attacks against the press are an enormous political irresponsibility": Article 19

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Less than 24 hours after murder of a journalist in Mexico, the sixth so far this year, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador described several journalists as "mercenaries" and made attacks against the salaries of famous communicators.

“Attacks against press they are an enormous political irresponsibility, when they have the obligation to call for peace and find solutions through openness to criticism so that the attacks against journalists cease”, said the director for Mexico and Central America of the NGO Article 19, Leopold Maldonado.

As recently as Thursday, the reporter Heber Lopez was shot dead inside his recording studio in the southern state of Oaxaca, becoming the sixth journalist murdered so far this yearaccording to the count of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

and although Lopez Obrador assured, during his morning press conference that there will be no impunity for López's crime, in his speech he again attacked the press.

The leader criticized by name Enrique Krauze, Héctor Aguilar Camín and Carlos Loret de Mola, who in their midst Latinus revealed that a son of the president, Jose Ramon Lopez Beltranlived in 2019 in a house in Houston, Texas, owned by a contractor for Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

“The mafia of power hid for a long time the salaries of these famous journalists, who they are not like youthey are hit-and-run journalists that the big media companies have,” said the president.

unstoppable attacks

Maldonado considered that Mexico “is experiencing lethal violence against the press, of unprecedented proportions and what we would expect from the Mexican government is a public condemnation. But there is not, there is no will to have a contingency plan”.

He recalled that the confrontation of Lopez Obrador with the press has been constant, and even, on June 30, 2021, a section was inaugurated in his morning conference where the attacks on the press have intensified.

"Trendentious", "corrupt" "unfair" "yellow" "conservative” are just some of the expressions that the president has released to the press during his government.

His statements have been condemned by organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Inter-American Press Association or the Committee to Protect Journalists, who have even accused the president of an abuse of power by slandering and insulting the press from his position.

Risk for journalists

For Maldonado, throw attacks Y stigmatize to those who exercise the right to freedom of expression only increases the risk for the work of these professionals.

“His speech generates that other political actors replicate his attacks. These actors feel empowered and allowed to attack in the face of a narrative that presents the press as an adversary. We are in a war speech, where the enemy must be annihilated, ”he said.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to be journalist. According to the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in the World Press Freedom IndexMexico is in 143rd place out of 180 countries.

From 2000 to date, Article 19 has documented 149 murders of journalists in Mexico, possibly related to their work. Of the total, 137 are men and 12 are women.

Of these, 47 were recorded during the previous term of the president Enrique Pena Nieto (2012-2018) and 29 in the current Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (2018-2024).

In accordance with Sign Labinterdisciplinary laboratory of the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Studies (ITESO), from 2010 to 2021 1,200 attacks against women communicators have been registered.

But in the last three years (from 2018 to 2021), they have detected 769 cases of siegethreats and attacks against journalists, which represents more than 64 percent of the cases compared to the same previous period.

For Maldonado, journalists not only suffer from stigmatizations that the president launches against the press, they are also the object of attacks on their social networks, especially from those who defend the so-called fourth transformation, the political project promoted by López Obrador.

During the first half of 2021, Article 19 documented 362 attacks against journalists and the media, and the State is the main aggressor against the press with 134 attacks

Part of the attacks suffered by journalists They are death threats, intimidation, harassment, physical attacks and news blackouts.

improve conditions

For Jade Ramírez Cuevas, a member of the Walking Journalists NetworkLópez Obrador's statements "affect journalists" because they add to the risk that practicing this profession already entailed in Mexico.

“The conditions of risk and vulnerability They come from other six-year terms. Although his statements do generate a feeling of discredit towards the work of the journalists”, he pointed.

He pointed out that it is important to divert the conversation towards the causes of violence against the press: “Inquire into the state governments, who are the mafias that are, for example, in Salina Cruz, Oaxacato the prosecutors, to demand that the human rights commissions do their job,” he said.


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